Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper
Charity shop challenge winner  Peter Quinell. Photo by Dave Reading

Charity shop challenge winner Peter Quinell.

Gods and monsters descend on De La Warr

Front Row, the annual south coast fashion show promoting innovative fashion design using vintage, sustainable, re-worked and recycled elements, presented another stunning evening last Saturday showcasing exciting designers’ work from Hastings and St Leonards. Bevali Francis reports.

Backstage with Francis Fifi Hats,Photograph by Dave Reading

Backstage with Francis Fifi Hats.

I always view the event from backstage and it is a fantastic place to see just how much work goes into this production. Professional designers, artists, students studying fashion and novices all come together to show their work. Their designs are enhanced by the work of brilliant local stylists, make-up artists and hairdressers, who get a chance to try out theatrical looks that they would not do every day. These make-up artists are also an eclectic mix of professionals, students and hobbyists who manage to create a wide variety of looks on often very small budgets.

Make up Photograph By Dave Reading


Students also get a chance to help with stage management, lighting and sound, experiencing what it is like to work in a professional theatre.

Front-of-house and backstage local photographers and student photographers manically run around taking pictures and the results they get are wonderful. I think there are enough beautiful photos taken for a local gallery to have a follow-up exhibition of photography where people could purchase some of these original images.

Student designs photograph by Dave Reading

Student designs.

The buzz in the foyer was electric, with performance artists and stalls to keep the expectant audience entertained. After the show there was a party free for guests and production team alike and a great party it was too, we are good at partying and dressing up in Hastings.

Usherettes Photograph by Dave Reading.


It was at the party that I was able to find out what the audience thought. The feedback was fantastic – “wow” seemed to be one of the main reactions. Different people had a favourite designer or piece they were talking about. Collections were themed and there were gods of love, gods of the mind, gods of the disco, etc.

Backstage with paper couture photo by Dave Reading

Backstage with paper couture.

I’m not sure any other town produces such a charity event, on such a large scale, where the community comes together and works exceptionally hard to create something so brilliant.

All photos by Dave Reading.


Posted 10:57 Thursday, Dec 5, 2013 In: HOT Style

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